Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Seven Days on the Cote d’Azur, Part 2: The Inland Riviera from Vence to Les Gorges de Verdon (Mon, 7/27)

With the rental car, the Tom-Tom, and Rick Steves, we headed out on Day 4 into the wild blue yonder, more commonly known as the Inland Riviera. While most visitors to the region prefer to remain on the coast, this part of France has incredible landed scenery due to its location in Les Alpes-Maritimes. I mean, the Alps! We had to visit. And so we did.

We began by driving up to the town of Vence to have lunch and walk around a bit. After that we started winding our way up to the little villages of Coursegoules and Grélolières. The latter had a ruined castle and made a nice shot for a picture from the roadside:

From there, we decided to take the plunge and drive over to Les Gorges de Verdon. This is suggested as a day-trip in itself in the guide books, but as it was only about 3 in the afternoon and light lasts until after 9 pm here, we thought we'd do it. I'm glad we did.

Les Gorges de Verdon are Europe's greatest canyons and are referred to in English as "The Grand Canyon of Verdon." With drops of 2200 feet to the river below, the gorges can stretch from 4700 feet wide at the top to 26 feet at the riverbed. Rick Steves described them as a place where "overpowering slabs of white and salmon-colored limestone plunge impossible distances to a snaking turquoise river below." I've never seen the American Grand Canyon, but what I saw here definitely left me with the sense of the impossible, or at least the immeasurable scope of a power greater than me.

Les gorges plunging down to the Verdon River below.

The Pont d'Artuby, Europe's highest bridge.

After driving through Les Gorges, we headed back towards Nice. We were a bit farther west than we originally intended, so the drive back took a while. It was a nice chance for us to reflect on the heights we'd seen that day and to plan for the next day's adventure. More mountain roads? Yes Please!!

Tomorrow: Part 3: The Inland Riviera from Madone d'Utelle to Gourdon.

In Other News... Jon's first day of work was "fantastic," as he put it. He says the kitchen is amazing, everyone is really nice, and he got to work on a lot of different things rather than just one thing (he had visions of piles of potatoes to peel). Best part for me? No more kitchen linens and uniforms to wash!!! The hotel has its own drycleaner, so the staff pick up clean uniforms (from pants up to neck kerchiefs) EVERY DAY!! Hooray, hooray, hooray!!!


  1. Beautiful pictures! (And, great new blog layout!)

    I have never seen America's Grand Canyon (though it has been on the top of my list since the summer of 2000!) - the The Grand Canyon of Verdon looks every bit as magical though!

    Oh, and PRAISE GOD for the hotel laundry service!!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Crap! I just posted as Lee. Whoops.

    ANYWAY...what I said was:

    Looks amazing! And glad the Ritz is going well.